2020: A Season to Reflect: Part II
Last week, I released the first half of my “2020: A Season to Reflect” series where I featured games corresponding with our opponents for the 2020 season. From the 2008 “Blackout Game” victory over Georgia in Athens to a legendary goal-line stand over Penn State in the Sugar Bowl, I showed you some of Alabama’s greatest moments. Here is the second conclusion to this two-part series.
WEEK 8: Tennessee Volunteers (October 24, 2009)
Wow- I remember this game like it was yesterday. It is hard to believe that in October, it will be 11 years ago. In 2020, Alabama’s streak over Tennessee stands at 13, but back in 2009 with Greg McElroy at quarterback, this game in Tuscaloosa was a defensive battle. Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin hit four field goals, two of which were 45-plus yards, but the real difference-maker was Alabama’s defense. Terrence Cody, the Crimson Tide noseguard, blocked two Tennessee kicks, including a potential game-winning field goal as time expired. This allowed Alabama to walk away with a 12-10 victory over the Volunteers.
WEEK 9: LSU Tigers (November 3, 2012)
This is my favorite Alabama game that I have seen live. After a very defensive 9-6 loss to LSU the previous season and a 21-0 blowout over the same Tigers for the National Championship, Alabama traveled to Baton Rouge the next year for Round 3. While the Crimson Tide led early, LSU managed to come back. The Tigers led throughout the fourth quarter, but then like a miracle, with 51 seconds to go in the game, quarterback AJ McCarron completed a game-winning drive with a swing pass to TJ Yeldon to win 21-17. Just thinking about this game gives me chills.
WEEK 10: UT-Martin Skyhawks (Notre Dame Fighting Irish - October 4, 1986)
Growing up as an Alabama fan, my parents often spoke of legendary Crimson Tide moments that I now treasure. Even though I was not alive for some of these, rewatching games makes me feel like I am actually there. The 1986 Alabama-Notre Dame matchup is one of those moments, and as it is often described by my mom, it is a “staple in Alabama tradition.” Quarterback and future head coach Mike Shula led the offense, but the real star of the game was outside linebacker Cornelius Bennett. Early in the game, Bennett sacked Fighting Irish quarterback Steve Beuerlein, and from there it was game on. Alabama walked away with a 28-10 victory.
WEEK 11: Texas A&M Aggies (September 14, 2013)
After a 2012 “Texas A&M welcome to the SEC party” in Tuscaloosa that became a loss at the hands of Johnny Manziel, Alabama went to College Station in 2013 to settle the score. Heisman winner Manziel still led the Aggies, throwing for five touchdowns and 464 yards. Tide quarterback AJ McCarron answered the scoring with four passing touchdowns of his own. In the end, Alabama exacted their revenge on the Aggies and beat them 49-42.
WEEK 12: Auburn Tigers (November 29, 2008)
I remember this game vividly. After six years of Auburn dominance, in his second year as Alabama coach, Nick Saban brought Alabama fans an Iron Bowl win. The striking difference; however, was that not only did Alabama beat Auburn, but they completely dismantled the Tigers. The Crimson Tide walked away with their first Iron Bowl victory of the Saban era 36-0.
WEEK 13: SEC Championship (Florida Gators - December 5, 1992)
The 1992 SEC Championship made history for Alabama fans and for college football fans everywhere. While Alabama easily made it through their schedule, the Crimson Tide’s momentum was nearly zapped by the buzzsaw that was the Florida Gators. 1992 was the first year of the SEC Championship, and the conference was ready to admit that it was not a good idea when the undefeated Tide started to struggle with Florida, but the conference was saved by cornerback Antonio Langham. With three minutes to go in the game, Langham intercepted a Gators pass and returned it for a touchdown to complete the victory. Alabama beat the Gators 28-21 and saved conference championship games.
WEEK 14: National Championship (Miami Hurricanes - January 1, 1993)
While I was not alive for the 1993 Sugar Bowl, this game has a special place in my heart. As a child learning about the Crimson Tide, I found this game to really embody Alabama football. Alabama- the team of then 70s full of class and character took on a Miami Hurricanes team that changed the football landscape with flashy celebrations and antics that drew NCAA violations. Coach Gene Stallings and his offense led by quarterback Jay Barker scored often, but the play of the game came from senior safety George Teague. After getting beat by Hurricanes receiver Lamar Thomas, Teague raced down the sideline and stripped the ball from Thomas to make up for his mistake. Alabama took down the Hurricanes 34-13 and earned their 12th national championship.
Thank you for reading! My whole life, I have loved watching old sporting events- especially Alabama football games. Through this project, I hope that you can do the same and go week-by-week watching these games as you would through the season.